AFTER producing skincare products under the original equipment manufacturing (OEM) model for local small hotels and spas for seven years, Tan Laboratory Co recently started exporting its product for the first time – with China the first targeted country.
So far it has exported only soap made of natural ingredients under its brand Skin a day. The company will use this brand only for all its export products.
One of the company’s two co-founders and managing director Kasitpat Chinudomporn, 36, said that now Tan was looking for Asian partners to help distribute its products in other Asian countries.
“This is the first step to tap the international markets and we’ll try to expand to other countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar,” he added.
Kasitpat or “Ham” graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Mahanakorn University of Technology. He started up his own businesses when he was studying, ranging from an Internet cafe and CCTV sales, to a coffee cafe.
Kasitpat and his high school classmate Virunputt Tiradapongpisarn, who graduated with a degree in chemistry from Kasetsart University’s Science Faculty, co-founded Tan Laboratory Co in 2009 with a joint investment of Bt1 million. Their idea was to produce the skin-care products from natural ingredients to cater to Asian complexions.
With her chemistry knowledge, Virunputt, 36, conducted research and development to produce facial and body skin-care products, which have obtained approval from the Thai Food and Drug Administration (Thai FDA). The company has wholesaled the products on an OEM basis to the small hotels, spas, traditional massage shops, and online cosmetic shops.
“We started with the wholesale business as we have no experience in a retail business,” Kasitpat said.
Later the company expanded its product line to produce soaps made of Thai fruits to tap customers who favour cosmetic products made of Thai fruits.
Early this year the co-founders brainstormed a plan to start exporting products to Asian markets. They joined a Department of Export Promotion road trip to China in a bid to seek business opportunities in the massive market.
One month after coming back from the trip, Chinese people, who had bought the company’s soap range made of fruit at their booth, contacted them and that resulted in six contracts to export the products to China.
Kasitpat said that then the company created the Skin a day brand, which would be only be exported because the company did not want it to compete with the brands of its Thai customers whom it supplies products on the OEM basis.
After securing the deals in China, the company expanded the production capacity of its small factory to cater for the rising number of orders.